The Disney Princesses get a lot of attention some of it positive, some of it negative, but all of it revolving around what they say about the role of women in the world. Some of them reflect outdated gender models. Some of them are more universal. Some are downright progressive. One thing that often gets overlooked is the role that their Princes have in their stories. Who the Princes are and how they act also says a lot about gender roles.
If you know anything about Disney Princesses, you know that there are rules about what characters can and can’t become a Princess.
Characters must meet all the following criteria:
- She must have a primary role in a Disney animated movie.
- She must be human.
- She can’t have starred primarily in a sequel
Plus she must meet at least one of the following:
- She must be born royal.
- She must marry royal.
- She must perform a significant act of heroism. (I call this The Mulan Rule)
As you can see there are significant rules to this and they are not enforced across the board. Not all Princesses are Princesses. For more on this see my blog, ‘Disney Princesses: You can’t sit with us’.
The rule (singular) for being a Disney Prince is: He must be a love interest of a Disney Princess. I’m not sure if that makes it easier or harder to be a Disney Prince but it is certainly radically different.
Starting on Valentine’s Day, I’m going to be looking at the official Princes and then move off into my own unofficial list of who should be recognized. I will look at how they have changed over the years and what makes a good Prince.
Do you have a favorite Disney Prince? Let me know in the comments.